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Hannes Minnaar: The Path to Becoming a Concert Pianist

In part two of the three-part special on building a career as a professional pianist, Piano Street's guest writer Alexander Buskermolen spoke with Dutch pianist Hannes Minnaar about his education, vision on personal musical development, and the challenges he faces as an international performer. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Fur Elise is boring...  (Read 6280 times)
pauholio
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« on: November 09, 2004, 10:59:48 PM »

Fur Elise is the all-time worst piece written for piano... people play it too much and it is now simply gastly...
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piano sheet music of Für Elise
Derek
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2004, 11:03:48 PM »

Don't you think its a little unfortunate to dislike a piece simply because of hearing it more than once?
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Brian Healey
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2004, 11:39:21 PM »

Most teachers seem to follow the same overall lesson plan in terms of repertoire, so every student ends up playing that piece. For some reason there's a notion that there are particular pieces that are a rite-of-passage for piano players, and the Fur Elise is certainly one of them. It's sort of a vicious cycle, because virtually everyone has played it, so every new pianist thinks they have to play it also. I for one think it's still a very nice piece, but I don't teach it unless a student requests to learn it, because there's other repertoire at that level that is just as fulfilling but isn't way overplayed. Although young students frequently request to learn that piece because it's easily recognizable and so widely-known, and most kids want to play something that their friends and family will know.
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Spatula
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2004, 12:56:22 AM »

That's one of the pieces I will never choose to learn.

Other's include his Sonata Nr 14 1st and 2nd movements.  I have more 'No no' pieces but that's all that coming out of me head right now.
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Brian Healey
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2004, 01:30:08 AM »

In the Elise's defense, most of us who learned this piece as a kid thought it was really cool at the time!

At least I did anyway.
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donjuan
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2004, 03:12:28 AM »

I enjoyed it, but it did drive my parents up the wall having to hear it repeat over and over and over and over...

It has attracted the wrong type of popularity and no one views it the way Beethoven meant.  There is this dumb ass in my guitar piece who said 'I made my own original arrangement for the guitar of the song Fur Elise by Mozart"  He plays it....it sounds like shit!!! the melody is wrong, the rhythm is irratic and harmony ceases to exist in a number of places!  and this guy is going to play it in front of a bunch of people.  I look at his "sheetmusic" that he made.  It's just bloody guitar tabs he drew on the back of his agenda book!  its because of kids like this Fur Elise is ruined for all eternity.

pauholio, have you listened to the complete recording of fur elise?  There is a middle section few people seem to know...Im just making sure you know it.
donjuan
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chozart
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2004, 05:14:59 AM »

It's a nice piece, one that really sparked an interest in me for the piano (classical music in general) when I was young.
And yes, it is unfortunate that so many people have grown to dislike it.Undecided
I do agree that it's become rather trite though; not due to just overplaying, but poor playing, and manipulations (such as "remixes" to make it sound a little different, or "more modern").
If it weren't as famous as it is now, it's highly likely that more people would like it more.
but that happens..
it just depends on how you take it  Roll Eyes
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Brian Healey
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2004, 06:30:57 AM »

Quote
I enjoyed it, but it did drive my parents up the wall having to hear it repeat over and over and over and over...

Quite the opposite with my parents. I'm sure I was practicing it quite a bit when I was learning it as a youngster, but instead becoming sick of it, they still ask me to play it to this day. Everytime I go home and I'm noodling on the piano, it's "play the Fur Elise, Brian." I also get asked frequently to play it when I do solo piano gigs (that and "Linus and Lucy" from Charlie Brown). A lot of times now I don't even really play the piece. I mostly just improvise over the harmony, sometimes reharmonizing, and sort of drift in and out of the written material. That definitely makes it more fun for me to play, rather than just tiredly trotting out the same old arrangement whenever I get asked to play it. I'm not against manipulating the music. It doesn't have to sound "modern," but if everybody knows a piece of music, you might as well try to make your rendition as unique as you can.
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Motrax
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2004, 04:30:52 PM »

I too like Fur Elise quite a bit. As overplayed as it is at an elementary level, you never hear it played at concerts. In fact, I don't think I've heard it for quite a number of years... past middle school, everyone seems to have a sort of contempt for it which is wholly unwarranted. It makes for a very pretty encore piece.

As for the Moonlight, this too goes along the same lines. I'm playing it for my audition this January because I think it's a beautiful piece, and I don't particularly care who else plays it or how they play it.

In general, if you can give a convincing performance of a piece, it will be enjoyable no matter how overplayed it might be.
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mound
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2004, 05:23:50 PM »

Fur Elise is the all-time worst piece written for piano... people play it too much and it is now simply gastly...

How does the number of times it's played have any relationship to the quality of the composition?  I never learned it, nor do I have any interest in learning it.  Are you saying that if it didn't happen to be a piece that many many many beginners play, the quality of the composition  itself would somehow be better?

-Paul
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Troldhaugen
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2004, 05:49:36 PM »

Agreed. I think it is simply wrong to dislike a certain piece just because it's overplayed. It does not change the innate quality of a piece. I used to love to play Fur Elise when I was young, and I still play it from time to time. The same goes for pieces like Claire de lune or Rach 3....etc. Although seemingly a relatively easy piece, I don't think not many people are actually able to play it correctly, or never play it. If I think a piece is truly beautiful, I can literally play or hear it thousand times.       
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shasta
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2004, 06:12:26 PM »

Fur Elise is the all-time worst piece written for piano... people play it too much and it is now simply gastly...

Put yourself in Beethoven's shoes and then play Fur Elise.  Unrequited love, secret love, a desperate longing to share deep and meaningful intimacy with a woman other than a prostitute or momentary fling, the extraordinary ability to confess love through music combined with the torturous inability to confess love in person.  That is Fur Elise.
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mound
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2004, 06:44:19 PM »

well said Shasta
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Ludwig Van Rachabji
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2004, 08:47:32 PM »

Fur Elise is the all-time worst piece written for piano... people play it too much and it is now simply gastly...

Put yourself in Beethoven's shoes and then play Fur Elise.  Unrequited love, secret love, a desperate longing to share deep and meaningful intimacy with a woman other than a prostitute or momentary fling, the extraordinary ability to confess love through music combined with the torturous inability to confess love in person.  That is Fur Elise.

Wow..... You've written poetry there!  Shocked
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Brian Healey
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2004, 09:32:49 PM »

I might be totally off-base with this, or getting it confused with another piece, but I also believe the beloved "Elise" went insane, or was of unstable mind (something like that), which accounts for the darker and more unstable section toward the end. I remember hearing that somewhere....
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Spatula
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« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2004, 12:09:34 AM »

Crazy woman!  What other love interests did Beethoven get?  He wasn't married right? so no beethoven juniors, now that would be something to see, same with Chopin and Liszt. 

Did Mozart have a kid?  I can' remember if Mrs. Mozart got pregnant or not...
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xvimbi
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« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2004, 12:15:02 AM »

Crazy woman!  What other love interests did Beethoven get?  He wasn't married right? so no beethoven juniors, now that would be something to see, same with Chopin and Liszt. 

Did Mozart have a kid?  I can' remember if Mrs. Mozart got pregnant or not...

Liszt had an unfortunate alliance (1834-44) with the Countess d'Agoult (Daniel Stern). The fruit of it was three children --- a son who died early, Blandina, who became the wife of Emile Ollivier, Minister of Justice to Napoleon III, and Cosima, first the wife of Hans von Bülow, then of Richard Wagner, and now the owner of Villa Wahnfried, Bayreuth.

(Google is your friend if you are away from the books! Why don't you use it every now and then?)
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Ludwig Van Rachabji
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« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2004, 06:15:19 PM »

Crazy woman!  What other love interests did Beethoven get?  He wasn't married right? so no beethoven juniors, now that would be something to see, same with Chopin and Liszt. 

Did Mozart have a kid?  I can' remember if Mrs. Mozart got pregnant or not...

Liszt had an unfortunate alliance (1834-44) with the Countess d'Agoult (Daniel Stern). The fruit of it was three children --- a son who died early, Blandina, who became the wife of Emile Ollivier, Minister of Justice to Napoleon III, and Cosima, first the wife of Hans von Bülow, then of Richard Wagner, and now the owner of Villa Wahnfried, Bayreuth.

(Google is your friend if you are away from the books! Why don't you use it every now and then?)

Lol, that's interesting.  Grin
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donjuan
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« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2004, 08:52:12 PM »

Crazy woman!  What other love interests did Beethoven get?  He wasn't married right? so no beethoven juniors, now that would be something to see, same with Chopin and Liszt. 

Did Mozart have a kid?  I can' remember if Mrs. Mozart got pregnant or not...

Liszt had an unfortunate alliance (1834-44) with the Countess d'Agoult (Daniel Stern). The fruit of it was three children --- a son who died early, Blandina, who became the wife of Emile Ollivier, Minister of Justice to Napoleon III, and Cosima, first the wife of Hans von Bülow, then of Richard Wagner, and now the owner of Villa Wahnfried, Bayreuth.

(Google is your friend if you are away from the books! Why don't you use it every now and then?)

Lol, that's interesting.  Grin
ill say its interesting! Liszt's daughter married Wagner, who is only 2 years younger than Liszt! haha...must be a gold digger!
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musicismylife
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« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2004, 10:17:54 PM »

I learned it so that I could memorize it and impress people. It worked.  Cool
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Ludwig Van Rachabji
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2004, 12:15:16 AM »

Anyway, I agree entirely with Shasta. I think that Fur Elise is a beautiful piece, it's just overplayed. But hey, who, other than pianists, cares? It's a great crowd pleaser!
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chozart
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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2004, 04:42:22 AM »

Crazy woman!  What other love interests did Beethoven get?  He wasn't married right? so no beethoven juniors, now that would be something to see, same with Chopin and Liszt. 

Did Mozart have a kid?  I can' remember if Mrs. Mozart got pregnant or not...

Yes. Wolfgang & Constanze had 6 kids, 2 of which survived : Karl Thomas & Franz Xavier Wolfgang.
Franz went in the more musical direction, composing and conducting throughout Europe.
Of course, he did not - could not - live up to the legend that was his father.
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Tash
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« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2004, 07:18:58 AM »

i like fur elise i think it's beautiful. just ignore the fact that everyone else is obsessed with it due to the fact that they are too ignorant to listen to everything else that's beautiful and it really is nice. i'd play it again for the fun of it.

according to a reliable source, the film amadeus (please note my sarcastic tone) said he had a kid. and that's all i know. but i will know more soon when i decide to learn some more about mozart. but at least i know he didn't write fur elise!
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« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2004, 08:40:00 AM »

Crazy woman! What other love interests did Beethoven get? He wasn't married right? so no beethoven juniors, now that would be something to see, same with Chopin and Liszt.
I saw a biography on Beethoven the other day on tv. It said that one of the Countesses(i don't remember the name)  he used to teach had a daughter who looked very much like Beethoven!!!!!!!!!! So, you never know!!
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« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2004, 04:02:55 PM »

I heard somewhere that Anton Rubinstein looked soo much like Beethoven, they were saying he was his illigitimate child Roll Eyes
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« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2004, 05:36:05 PM »

Being a strong liberal, progressist and anticonformist I tend to hate everything that is too popular or conformist, especially if it is popular just because it's "cool" or "in" and not because they reasoned about their motivations for liking it
So, Fur Elise is one of this piece
Too people want to hear this and I become dis-interested at it
BUT, this is just all mental, ideological projection of my mind

When I eventually hear it I can't help but loving it and I no longer care about my being anticonformist
Then I reason to myself
"surely there's no marketing and globalization or social conformism behind Fur Elise,  so why people love it?"
The answer become clear to me
"because it's a very beautiful piece and people have the right to love it without being accused of being conformist"

So, I think my rationale side win this time and aknowledge that I shouldn't dare criticize others for liking this piece, as they too love it instinctively and emotionally

We know nothing about music
We don't know how it works
As far as we know scientists could discover in 20 year that music brings neuroelectro informartion about the context in which it was created
When I ask people why they love this piece they keep saying that somewhat it's a piece that bring back to them the memories of childhood protection, like being in your house with your parents defending you when you're in danger and the thought that the world is friendly and in peace

Daniel
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« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2005, 12:52:03 AM »

I think Fur Elise is a great piece, however it is probably the piece that is played wrong most often.
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« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2005, 01:07:06 AM »


pauholio, have you listened to the complete recording of fur elise?  There is a middle section few people seem to know...Im just making sure you know it.
donjuan
I will be starting lessons in the fall with my daughter and I have heard this piece several times and still enjoy it and am looking forward to the time when I am able to play this piece, and it is the middle section I am most impressed with. Great music never gets old even if some people hack it up or play it alot.
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« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2005, 03:42:56 AM »

I got sick of Fur Elise too and am even ashamed to play it again. I don't want people to hear and think 'can you play something that 'sounds' harder?' - sigh. The good side is I have a better understanding of the piece now than I did 10 years ago cause I've matured. Somehow I feel like its a different story now when I play it at 28 yrs compared to when I was 11 yrs old. Maybe its because I've loved and lost too? Anyway, I agree, its way too overplayed.
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« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2005, 03:56:56 AM »

Speaking of Fur Elise being often played badly, there is one rendition I've heard that really sticks out like a sore thumb in my mind.

Once I was walking around in the student lounge at my university campus and I heard a guy playing it on the old piano that was in there.   And his tempo was so rushed that it sounded like some hideous illegitimate offspring of Fur Elise and the third movement of the Appassionata Roll Eyes.

Needless to say, it was an abomination.
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Siberian Husky
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« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2005, 06:55:57 AM »

everybody hates fur elise

self believes everyone is so fixated on their overprided vast knowledge of classical libraries

self also believes fur elise is under rated and deserves more credit

self knows fur elise does an excellent job of swooning ladies whom are uneducated in the classical genre

self is trying to be a robot..so excuse self for usage of "self"...sank you...


domo aregato
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« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2005, 02:33:25 PM »

Another ROBOT! how many humans are there left on this forum
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« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2005, 07:54:08 PM »

Quote
self believes everyone is so fixated on their overprided vast knowledge of classical libraries

self also believes fur elise is under rated and deserves more credit

Well said self! Why should anyone be ashamed of loving, or wanting to play any music? This art snobbery makes me sick.

Perhaps "one" should just say airily, "Oh, I occasionally play Beethoven's WoO 59, just a trifle, you know."  Sounds much cleverer, doesn't it?

When my mum talks about music or art, she always prefaces her comments by an apologetic "Well I'm probably just ignorant but I really like ... (Für Elise or whatever)." She's 80 years old and still doesn't feel entitled to have opinions about the arts!

If art is supposed to have something to do with communication, then I reckon Elise hacks it a sight better than stuff that needs a 100 pages of explanation before one feels ready to "approach" it.

This piece in the hands of a sincere performer is like the simple common or garden plant that springs up each year, familiar but new. 
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« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2005, 10:44:27 PM »

I heard a pretty cool cuban jazz group playing a jazz version of Fur Elise the other day. At first, I was like "what the hell is this?!" but I quickly realized it was actually quite good.

at my recital last week, two kids played it! The first one, not so good. The 2nd one, better, but still not so good.
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« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2005, 01:11:05 AM »

Duh . . . . . . .


Play something else.

This is not rocket science.



Best regards--

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« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2005, 02:25:32 AM »

honestly, if I had to choose between hearing Fur Elise crappily played  400 times a day on a desert island and listening to the vomitous, stultifying bull#$%% that most modern composers piss out, I'd EASILY choose Fur Elise
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« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2005, 03:10:50 PM »

Well, I am an adult beginner, I wish I could play Fur Elise, and play it well.

I can still listen to Alfred Brendel's Fur Elise And Moonlight and not be bothered by it, some of the best renditions of these are by him.  Not rushed, the feeling and emotion is captured beautifully.

I only dream I could write something so many people would like to play 200 years later.

The work itself if amazing, it is probably the hacked up versions like I would play that are annoying to most pianist.



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« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2005, 07:43:47 PM »

Sure... people do play it alot... but that doesn't nessecarily make it the worst piece.


honestly, if I had to choose between hearing Fur Elise crappily played  400 times a day on a desert island and listening to the vomitous, stultifying bull#$%% that most modern composers piss out, I'd EASILY choose Fur Elise

Isn't that a little strong?
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« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2005, 02:07:02 PM »

Fur Elise is the all-time worst piece written for piano... people play it too much and it is now simply gastly...

It's definitely overplayed, but to call it boring because of that?  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2005, 02:37:54 PM »

Fur Elise is the all-time worst piece written for piano... people play it too much and it is now simply gastly...

You will play it, and you will like it.  Then, you will play Fanasy Impromptue, and you will like that as well.  Then, you will play the OC with tour back to the piano.  This I did when I was 7.
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« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2005, 05:54:45 PM »

honestly, if I had to choose between hearing Fur Elise crappily played  400 times a day on a desert island and listening to the vomitous, stultifying bull#$%% that most modern composers piss out, I'd EASILY choose Fur Elise

I have to agree there, though not quite so strongly.
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« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2005, 06:17:45 PM »

You're bored? Play it in thirds, and do an improv with 33 variations and a fugue on the theme. Or just do what's on the score, and do it with passion - if it's more passionate than a MIDI then you're already halfway there.
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« Reply #42 on: June 30, 2005, 02:13:57 PM »

Lets not forget that Fur Elise is a Bagatelle, a genre that Beethoven eventually came to feel was as - if not more - important than the sonatas to studying musicians.  Granted it is not as sophisticated as any of the others from the otehr three sets, or the other posthumous ones, but it still displays remarkable, compact compositional skill and deserves better press!
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« Reply #43 on: July 01, 2005, 02:54:59 AM »

Comon, give it a break, it's a beautiful piece either way, and you know that anyone who does not play piano will appreciate the piece.  The only reason you do not like it is because 'you' hear it too much, what about anyone else...if you learn and play it, many ppl will be pleased because they are familiar with that tune and it actually does sound interesting.
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pianote
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« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2005, 11:47:09 PM »

it's way too overplayed... but many good pianists dislike fur elise because the general public believes it to be so difficult and impressive to play- thus learning it with no regard for the musicality, no?
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sweet91
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« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2005, 03:46:00 AM »

i enjoy it anyway,it's quite a nice pieces.....everyone try 2 enjoy it with this nice pieces!!
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sonatainfsharp
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« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2005, 08:54:23 PM »

Personally, I have never heard a scholarly interpretation of this piece--they way most people play it, you would think it was written in 1849, just before Chopin's death--not by Beethoven.
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